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16 Cheapest Places to Live in Portugal

Let’s be honest, Portugal has been an expat hub for a long time – and with good reason. With the lowest cost of living in Western Europe, amazing beaches, delicious food and wine, and friendly locals, it’s little wonder that more and more people are making the move to Portugal.

However, not all cities in Portugal are budget-friendly. As you might expect, the capital, Lisbon, can be pricey as can the second city, Porto. While they’re not particularly expensive compared to New York, London, or Berlin, they’re higher than the Portuguese average. So, if you’re looking for a bargain and a small city vibe, here are the 16 cheapest places to live in Portugal.

Let’s dive in and find out more. 

1. Santarém

If you’re a big fan of Gothic architecture, then living in Santarém is going to be right up your street. Back in the day, this city was home to the Order of Christ, which helped to fund the Portuguese Age of Exploration. Location-wise it’s to the northeast of Lisbon, so it’s not coastal, but it’s pretty easy to get in and out of the capital. In fact, there are direct trains that can get you into the capital in 40 minutes. 

So, if you want cheap rent but great proximity to Lisbon and you’re not bothered about coastal living, Santarém is a great budget option. 

Basic Rental Costs

Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre€355
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre€265

2. Braga

To the northeast of Porto, you’ll find the bustling city of Braga, known for its university. There are historic features around every corner, going back to Roman times in some areas and offering Gothic churches in others. As it’s a student city, it tends to be a lot cheaper than other large Portuguese cities while still having plenty of nightlife to enjoy! 

Basic Rental Costs

Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre€792.86 
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre€600.00 
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre€1,233.33 
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre€928.57 

3. Castelo Branco

Are you looking for an outdoorsy gem that’s inland? Castelo Branco is the perfect option if you love hiking and cycling, as it’s surrounded by mountains, national parks, and stunning scenic routes. It’s a peaceful place to settle down and it’s pretty rural despite being known as the capital of Beira Baixa. 

So, if you want a slice of the countryside calm without spending a fortune, this is an awesome option. 

Basic Rental Costs

Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre€450
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre€325
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre€600
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre€550

4. Bragança

Love a Medieval vibe to your European cities? Bragança has that in spades. It’s located in the northeast of Portugal, not too far from the border with Spain. Highlights include the 12th century castle and the fact that it’s the historical Trás-os-Montes province. As it’s quite a small and rural city, it’s fairly relaxed and calm, so perfect if you love history and culture but don’t want to battle the tourists. 

a castle and a statue

Basic Rental Costs

Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre€383.33
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre€266.67
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre€583.33
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre€400

5. Covilhã

Want a mountain town at a fraction of the cost? Covilhã is located at the foothills of the Parque Natural da Serra da Estrela in central Portugal. This is a really cool and quirky little city that feels like an Alpine town a lot of the time. This is mostly because its main attractions are a Cheese Museum and a separate Wool Museum. Combine this with the snowy mountain winters, and you’re basically in a much more cost-effective version of Switzerland!

Basic Rental Costs

Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre€550
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre€350
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre€850
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre€700

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6. Alcobaça

Situated in a beautiful valley in the Oeste Region, Alcobaca is a quaint city with a massively historic provenance. In fact, the city’s monastery is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that draws crowds from all around Europe. With two beautiful rivers, it’s a calming city to settle down in, and the wine museum doesn’t hurt either! 

Basic Rental Costs

Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre€400
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre€290

7. Beja

Looking for a top foodie destination without breaking the bank? The small city of Beja is the capital of the Lower Alentejo region which is renowned for its wine and local cuisine. It’s also got a surprisingly low amount of rainfall, so it’s perfect if you’re looking for a dry and sunny destination. There are also plenty of historic sites and ruins to explore, as well as all the services you’d expect from a Portuguese city. 

Basic Rental Costs

Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre€450
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre€370

8. Barcelos

In between the city of Braga and the Atlantic coast, you’ll find the smaller city of Barcelos. Known for its beautiful pottery, the rushing river that snakes through the heart of the city, and the greenery that surrounds the area.

It’s also an ancient city that has archeological museums and finds, alongside medieval towers, including the New Gate which ironically dates back to the 15th century! Barcelos is also the origin of the iconic Portuguese rooster, that’s become synonymous with the country. 

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Basic Rental Costs

Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre€325
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre€250
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre€750
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre€600

9. Figueira da Foz

If you’re looking for that classic Portuguese beach vibe, then you need to check out Figueira da Foz. Located smack bang in the middle of Lisbon and Porto on the Atlantic Coast, Figueira da Foz has become popular with surfers and beachgoers looking for quieter stretches of coastline compared to the areas around Faro or Lisbon. 

body of water with rock formation

It’s your classic seaside resort town, so while there isn’t a whole lot except for amazing beaches and coastal attractions, it is a stunning place to live and work. There’s also the added benefit that it’s much cheaper than beach spots like Lagos or Cascais, and you’re within equal striking distance of Coimbra, Porto, and Lisbon. 

Basic Rental Costs

Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre€625
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre€487.50
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre€840
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre€630

10. Portimão

While Portimão might not be the cheapest place to live in Portugal, it’s a lot more affordable than many other big cities – and the number of amenities in this popular city are huge. Located in the Algarve region that’s popular with tourists and especially UK expats, Portimão is full of amazing beaches, Gothic churches, and coastal hikes.

an aerial view of body of water

By Algarve standards, Portimão is an affordable place to live, and compared to cities like Lisbon, it’s around half the price. 

Basic Rental Costs

Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre€840
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre€600
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre€1,575
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre€1,200

11. Viana do Castelo

Located in the far north of Portugal, near the border with Spain, on the Atlantic coast, the city of Viana do Castelo has it all. With an awe-inspiring hilltop sanctuary that spirals up out of the middle city, it’s a beautiful sight to see. Add in the soft golden sands of the city’s beach and the fact that it’s only an hour’s drive to Porto, and this city might just tick all of your boxes. 

Basic Rental Costs

Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre€643.33
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre€480
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre€928
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre€833.33

12. Caldas da Rainha

Want to move to a city that’s a short distance north of Lisbon within striking distance of the surf beaches in Peniche and the chocolate-filled walled city of Obidos? Consider calling Caldas da Rainha home. With colorful buildings around town squares that look like Belgian or Dutch cities, stunning sandy beaches, and historic churches to explore, this city has it all.

building near trees

It’s an ideal spot if you want to live near the beaches of Peniche but don’t want to pay a premium, and still want city-level amenities. To get to these surf spots, it’s just 30 minutes by car. 

Basic Rental Costs

Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre€616.67
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre€450
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre€700
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre€650

13. Aveiro

Just a 36-minute train ride to the south of Porto, you’ll stumble across the coastal city of Aveiro. Known as the Venice of Portugal, this small city has beautiful beaches, colorful lagoon-front buildings, plenty of quaint fishing boats, and a general joyful vibe. With a range of beaches to choose from and a series of heritage museums in the city itself, Aveiro has a great blend of culture and natural beauty.

boats in the water

As it’s only a short direct train ride from Porto, Aveiro is an ideal base if you want to work in Porto but don’t want to spend a fortune on rent, or just prefer a slower pace of life!

Basic Rental Costs

Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre€787.50
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre€580
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre€1,275
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre€944.44

14. Ponta Delgada (Azores)

Of course, Portugal isn’t just the mainland. It’s also got two main island chains; Madeira and the Azores. While the real estate in Madeira is skyrocketing with the tourism demand, Ponta Delgada, the main city in the Azores is still relatively affordable for an exotic island getaway.

Located on the southern coast of the largest island, Sao Miguel, Ponta Delgada is a super walkable city, with a beautiful harbor, nearby black sand beaches, and plenty of wonderfully tiled plazas where you can relax with a coffee and watch the world go by.

Basic Rental Costs

Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre€950
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre€625
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre€1,200
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre€900

15. Viseu

As the capital of the Viseu District in central Portugal, the city of Viseu is a hive of rural activity, surrounded by mountains, rivers, and rolling greenery. With plenty of historic buildings throughout the city, you can get your fix of culture and adventure all in one place. 

Viseu has actually been ranked as one of the Portuguese cities with the highest standard of living, and it’s also one of the cheapest cities in the country to buy a house. Honestly, if you’re not bothered about the beaches, this could be the best place to live in Portugal. 

Basic Rental Costs

Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre€643.16
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre€455.64
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre€776.82
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre€656.14

16. Evora

Love Roman history but don’t want to spend a fortune living in Italy? Well, the UNESCO Heritage Site city of Evora is dominated by its Roman Temple of Diana, which the city has been built around. You can wander from 12th-century Gothic cathedrals to whitewashed hillside houses, to ancient standing stones.

As it’s the capital of the south-central Alentejo region, you know that there are going to be amazing wineries and vineyards all around the city, as well as top-tier local produce. It’s also really easy to get into Lisbon from Evora with direct trains only taking 1hr20 minutes. 

Basic Rental Costs

Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre€500
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre€366.67
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre€1,200
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre€800
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FAQs About the Cheapest Places to Live in Portugal

So, now that you know all about the cheapest places to live in Portugal, let’s round things off with a few frequently asked questions. 

How Much Money do You Need to Live Comfortably in Portugal?

Realistically, you don’t need a lot of money to live comfortably in Portugal. An estimated monthly budget for a family of four is €2,351 without rent. If you’re flying solo, the estimated monthly costs for a single person are €666, excluding rent. 

With the rent being so low outside of the major cities of Lisbon, Porto, Faro, and Funchal, the overall cost of living in Portugal is lower than in the US by over a third. 

Where in Portugal is the Cheapest to Buy Property?

The cheapest place to buy property in Portugal is in the district of Viseu. If you want to buy rather than rent, there are plenty of affordable houses and apartments around Portugal.  This includes popular areas like the Silver Coast, Central Portugal, Alentejo, Northern Portugal, and the Azores. 

Of course, this depends on the region you want to live in, your overall budget, and what you want out of your property. Many expats prefer to live in apartment complexes with amenities like gyms and pools, but there are also plenty of houses in the suburbs and regions to enjoy. 

Is 1000 Euros Enough for a Month in Portugal?

Yes, 1000 euros a month is enough to live in some parts of Portugal. While you’re not going to be living the high life in Lisbon or Porto, you can live in smaller cities like Braga or Evora for very cheap and still have disposable income for eating out and enjoying the culture. 

Is it Cheaper to Live in Spain or Portugal?

At the moment, it is still cheaper to live in Portugal than to live in Spain. While both countries have a low cost of living, Portugal has the edge.

This obviously affects local salaries as well as the cost of rent, bills, and eating out, but if you’re a remote worker or digital nomad, then this could be a great place for you to live on a budget. Who’d have thought in Western Europe?

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